Down Under chords



You can learn how to play Down Under by Men At Work!

Australian Men At Work formed during ‘79 in their native Melbourne out of an acoustic duo that grew into a band with the unusual addition of a Saxophonist that also played the flute.

The flute proved to be a masterstroke as it would make their biggest hit stand out!

Starting out playing the pub circuit, they soon found themselves to be the most popular band around and quickly signed with CBS to release their first album, Business As Usual in ‘81.

Down Under was the second single off the debut, it became a hit as it reached the #1 spot, which the album managed as well. Apparently, a first for an Australian act in the U.S.

The band did release more singles that performed reasonably well, but nothing matched Down Under which after a few years reached worldwide recognition.

By ‘84, internal conflict got the better of the group, eventually resulting in a solo career for the singer, Colin Hay.

Even though Down Under was an enormous success, Men At Work was no one-hit-wonder band.

Their New Wave sounding pop, was part of an early 80’s sound alongside bands such as The Police, New Order, Culture Club, and The Cure. Perhaps less punk than some of their contemporary bands, they sold 30 million albums.

Let’s take a look at the chords and lyrics and see how this worldwide smash hit is put together.


Down Under chords and lyrics


||: Bm A | Bm G A :||

||: Bm A | Bm G A :||
Traveling in a fried-out Kombi.
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie.
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous.
And she took me in and gave me breakfast, and she said:

||: D A | Bm G A :||
Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder.
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

||: Bm A | Bm G A :||

||: Bm A | Bm G A :||
Buying bread from a man in Brussels.
He was six-foot-four and full of muscle.
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
And he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich, and he said:

||: D A | Bm G A :||
I come from a land down under.
Where beer does flow and men chunder.
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover, yeah.

||: Bm A | Bm G A :|| x6

||: Bm A | Bm G A :||
Lyin’ in a den in Bombay.
With a slack jaw, and not much to say.
I said to the man, “Are you trying to tempt me?
Because I come from the land of plenty”, and he said:

||: D A | Bm G A :||
Do you come from a land down under? (Oh, yeah, yeah).
Where women glow and men plunder.
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (Ah-ha).
You better run, you better take cover.

||: D A | Bm G A :||
(‘Cause we are) Living in a land down under.
Where women glow and men plunder.
(Can) Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (thunder)
You better run, you better take cover.

||: D A | Bm G A :||
Living in a land down under.
Where women glow and men plunder.
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (Oh, yeah)
You better run, you better take cover.

||: D A | Bm G A :||
(We are) Living in a land down under (oh yea).
Where women glow and men plunder.
(Yeah, yeah) Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? (Yeah, yeah, thunder).
You better run, you better take cover.

||: D A | Bm G A :||
Living in a land down under (Living in a land down under).
Where women glow and men plunder.
(Oh) Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.


Down Under chord progression

Based on the extremely simple idea of resolving from IV – V (#2 on the top 10 chord progression list) to VI or to I, Down Under’s verse goes:

||: BmABmGA :||

Whereas the chorus chords are:

||: DABmGA :||

This variation of resolving to either a Bm chord or a D chord is so simple but so effective, just a slight tweak like this makes the chorus triumphant, the verse reflective.

This is also mirrored in the lyrics. Perhaps most importantly, I have to point out that the underlying humor is necessary to make all this work.

Without the fun-loving cheeky side to it (flute helps!) it wouldn’t have worked as well as it did.

The charm of Down Under and its appeal is down to that it’s basically fun.

To write a good, memorable song that is fun, is definitely not easy – Men At Work’s Down Under may be one of the best examples of how to do this well.


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